I've recently discovered that there is one feeling that is simply superior to others; that of having accomplished something. Another feeling that is pretty good too is that of having simplified something, so that making a bowl or whatever is more easy.
With a recent amount of money coming in, I've hit Amazon.com hard lately. A set of gouges, a couple woodworking books (more on those after they are delivered), and a set of forstner bits.
The forstner bits haven't arrived, but one which I had ordered before I ordered the set has. It's a 2-3/8". When I ordered it, I was working on a birdhouse design that would call for a hole that size (more on that later on when it's built), but last eve in the shop I came upon an idea. Why couldn't I use this big hoss of a bit to skip a step in my bowl turning work?
Ordinarily I still use the tailstock to start my bowls. I use it to hold the bowl in place while I turn a small recess so my chuck has a place to bite into firmly. It involves basically turning the same bowl twice on one side and once on the other. I turn the recess between centers into the material that I will later hollow out, take a mallet and chisel and remove the little 'protrusion' the center rested against, and then mount it on the chuck, turn the bottom portion and a small recess and a decorative foot, then turn the bowl around and hollow it out.
But seeing the bit laying on the table gave me a brainy idea. Drill out a recess into where the inside of the bowl will be, and it should mount on the chuck AND allow me to skip a step. I tried it and I have to say, it basically cut my hassle and headaches in half. I don't have to wait on glue to dry, nor do I have to hassle with the tailstock. Just drill a good deep recess, chuck it up, and go.
Theoretically, I should never have to take the chuck off my lathe again, unless I need to turn a chair leg that needs as much bed length as I can get.
I've found a simpler way of turning bowls, and I found a news use for a bit that, at least initially was going to be a 'one-and-done' bit.
I know I'm not the first to think of this, but I feel positively giddy for having found a new way to do something that I thought was just an extra step I'd have to do if I wanted to make bowls.
I do wonder, is there anything I need to keep in mind with this method of getting a recess started? I did notice whilst using the forstner in my drill that she could catch a bit, I'll have to get a tad better at using a light touch. I'm almost certain that forstners were never meant to be used in a hand drill but instead in a drill press, but I'm in a spot where I have what I have, lol.
It might not be too bad if you're using blanks that have a flat bottom to begin with, but even then, you need to take care to get the hole square to that bottom surface. Not an easy process when using a hand held drill. Since most of my bowl blanks are roughly cut from hunks of logs, I would seldom be able to use that method.
Another issue is that most chucks like a sort of dovetailed recess for grabbing internally. An angle as close as you can get to the angle on the outside of the chuck's jaws. While you can get away with a straight sided recess, one that angle out a bit as the depth increases is much better, and you can get away with a shallower recess.
I actually once used a 2 3/8 forstner to drill floor joists for 2" drain pipe... with a big hand drill. it just about wanted to break my body... :)
just be aware of a couple of things:
1. you need to leave enough meat around the socket (or mortise) so that when you chuck the blank up it does not bust - BTDT.
2. this limits the size and shape of your bowls to some degree.
3. Most people prefer a tenon to a mortise. but i have used both and i like to use both, depending on the task.
are you drilling by hand or chucking it into the tail stock? drilling witht he tailstock takes the strain off of you and ensures a good, uniform, and straight hole...
But if he could chuck up his blank to drill it... he wouldn't have to drill it, so he needs to use the hand drill so he can put it on the chuck.
The method I use is drilling a 3/8" hole and inserting the worm screw that came with my chuck. Quick, easy, and strong. Then the screw goes into the chuck, and then turn the outside and the tennon. Turn the blank around on the tennon. Finish outside and then do the inside.
I think we got our wires crossed... I meant chucking the drill bit. I was thinking that TJ has his blank mounted on a face plate so that he could bring up the tailstock and drill with it while the blank is still ont he faceplate. But upon further reading he is roughing just between centers - so he could not use the tailstock as i was thinking.
TJ - sorry about the confusion. do you have a faceplate?
I have a three inch faceplate, but most methods I've used to mount a piece of stock to it have been more hassle than gain. My first attempt (I must warn ahead of time that I'm kinda dumb, lol) involved making a scrap piece made of multiple stacks of plywood bolted (with 1/8" bolts and nuts) to the plate onto which I could glue the bowl blank, but with this method, I could only really have one bowl going at any one time. Only one faceplate, so at most I couldn't do much while the glue was drying.
I did try something slightly interesting with the plate. Instead of screwing a block to the plate, I screwed it directly to the faceplate with #6 wood screws. Had the lathe RPM set to 500, reached down and flipped the on switch and the blank turned as I expected, about three cuts in, the bowl began to make an unusual noise. I stopped the lathe and looked and the screws had started wallowing out their holes. I attribute it to two different things; one, the wood, sweetgum, didn't really suit itself well to holding screws, and two, my screws are sucky.
My chuck jaws are actually almost perfect 90 degrees, but with a pair of small rings around the edge which give it a good bit into the material. With the recesses I normally turn onto the bowls anyways, it's usually a 90 degree recess, where I push my skew directly towards the headstock as straight as I can. I've seen a few chucks that had a dovetail like jaw system, but I much prefer this chuck wit hthe straight jaws.
Oh, and yeah, I figured out about needing to save enough meat around the recess. Many's the time I've been working on a nice bowl that was going well, and when I chuck up on the outside (bottom) recess and start tightening it down I'd hear a very faint crackle. I broke my wrist about 12 years ago and it never healed right and it makes some funny sounds, but those I can usually feel and hear. Took the bowl off and it'd cracked through the little bit of meat left around the recess. Cedar seems to be far worse about it; needs a goodly amount of material to get a good bite into.
I think i did something of what your thinking of doing, i got a blank from school that had been laying around for a while (pics of it once i get em on my computer- it became a candle holder) but it already had a part drilled out, so i just expanded the chuck into the recess and made a tennon on the other side, and hollowed out the area that the recess was in. it saves some time if your going to be mounting it on a faceplace first, or turning between centers to get a tennon.
A REAL good tool for simplifying something would be one of thoes bowl cutters that give you like 5 blanks from one bigger blank...
Maby some day :)
>I think i did something of what your thinking of doing, i
>got a blank from school that had been laying around for a
>while (pics of it once i get em on my computer- it became a
>candle holder) but it already had a part drilled out, so i
>just expanded the chuck into the recess and made a tennon on
>the other side, and hollowed out the area that the recess
>was in. it saves some time if your going to be mounting it
>on a faceplace first, or turning between centers to get a
>A REAL good tool for simplifying something would be one of
>thoes bowl cutters that give you like 5 blanks from one
>Maby some day :)
That bowlsaver rig would be pretty trick, but it leaves ya with a cookie cutter bowl everytime. The diameter might be different, but the shape is the same.
I've been turning the tenon between centers, so this forstner allows me to skip a step. I can get into doing the fun turning sooner, LOL.
To a degree, you are right about the bowlsavers --- they are conducive to making a certain style. but certainly not identical if you are using the kelton system. for instance - i can cut a steep curve, shallow curve, straight... many ways to skin the cat...
I got the kelton about 3 yrs ago and, when i have time to use it, it is awesome. of course it better be for the price... :)
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